Tag Archives: reflection

A walk by the water

Yesterday, the second half of the year began and with the weather pretending to be springlike we went for a stroll along the edge of the Pauatahanui Inlet. The light from the sun was golden, the air still in sheltered spots and the temperature surprisingly mild.

Birdlife was abundant and active, although a low tide meant photographs were tricky to take, even with a zoom.

The White faced Heron was happy to show its elegant footwork once we sat down and were quiet. It appeared to have plenty of food on offer in the shallows.

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This spot is a favourite for the local Kingfisher population and there were plenty about. They like to sit in the trees, scope out their next meal (mostly small mud crabs) and dive swiftly to catch it.

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This one was more than happy to sit on a rock and look about. It looks very well fed!  Camera gear and equipment needs to be much more elaborate than mine to get good photographs of these zippy, beautiful birds.

These flowers (Kniphofia) displayed winter warmth.

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Our stroll took us past Toe Toe, which always respond to any breeze or wind blowing and can look very stream-lined and active.

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Then past this tree having shed its leaves but glowing with life still. ( The strength of the prevailing wind can be seen in its shape – we really do have tree-bendy winds here)

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And the light on the water was magical.

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Remembrance

On the first anniversary of my brother’s death I visited the Wellington Botanical Gardens where he and I had left small footprints as children, visiting with our parents.   And where in the mid 1970’s he left more footprints when he worked there as a gardener.

During my visit I wondered if perhaps had he stopped work and stood and enjoyed this view

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Or perhaps he had rested in the summer heat under this Weeping Willow tree

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Or trudged up this path amid the greeneryDSCF2487 (1280x960)

Or cut this long, steep, grassy bank.

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And behind me as I took these photographs was A Field of Remembrance.

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866 white crosses bearing the names of Wellingtonians who were casualties of WW1 between 1914-15.

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This field is but one of many that have been established around our country to commemorate those who lost their lives.

In April of 2015–2018, part of Wellington Botanic Garden will become a place to reflect on and remember those who died World War I. Sited on Salamanca Lawn, towards Salamanca Road, the Fields of Remembrance will feature replica Flanders field poppies and 866 white crosses to commemorate the Wellingtonians who died in service in 1915. We’ve worked with the Fields of Remembrance Trust to make this event possible. 10–28 April.

Gallivanta in Christchurch has posted about visiting the one in her city.

A steady trickle of quiet, sombre, reflective visitors moved amongst the crosses and spent time with their own thoughts, feeling and memories.

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My place to stand

Maori (New Zealand’s indigenous peoples) have a concept Turangawaewae.

Tūrangawaewae is one of the most well-known and powerful Māori concepts. Literally tūranga (standing place), waewae (feet), it is often translated as ‘a place to stand’. Tūrangawaewae are places where we feel especially empowered and connected. They are our foundation, our place in the world, our home.
Source: http://www.teara.govt.nz/en/papatuanuku-the-land/page-5

Since the death of both my parents and now more recently the death of my brother, the place of my first months of life has increasingly become my Turangawaewae.

On a recent visit to Greytown, Wairarapa I went down River Road that leads from the house I lived in to the banks of the Waiohine River.
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The river was grey-blue and running reasonably fast due to rain falling in the nearby mountains.
The trees on the banks were in autumn colours but the white light and heavy cloud dimmed those on this visit.
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My mountain was somewhere amidst these mists.
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The rain was falling steadily but it was a time to pause and reflect, to absorb the feelings of connection, and foundation.
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A place to draw strength from this land beneath my feet and then continue along my life’s road.
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Late summer roses at the Aotea Lagoon Rose Garden today

Enjoy these lovely late summer blooms at the Aotea Lagoon Rose Garden today.
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And take time to reflect a little on life.
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Bamboo reflections

On my recent jaunt about the garden searching out the native plants to share with you in my blog I came across the stand of Bamboo that grows amongst the trees in the tall tree corner.

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It must be a small, clumping variety of Bamboo because it has not spread in the twenty four years we have lived here.

The children liked to cut lengths to play with or to make things with when they were young and I think we have used a length or two for short garden stakes. But mostly it simply grows surrounded by native trees and agapanthas.

I decided to cut some branches and play with the warm light of the autumn afternoon.
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The breeze stirred the reflections in some very interesting ways outdoors.
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Indoors the effects were quite different but pleasing.
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As I played with this lovely plant, taking photos and moving about with it I considered how like fingers the leaves are, their grouping like hands, reaching out to help and support from the supple, bending branches that could be arms. Each branch has multiple joints( tiny on this variety) which allow great flexibility and least resistance. Bamboo suggested to me that it was strong and resilient through its bend, bow and balance.
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I knew very little about Bamboo before I took the photos but since then I have searched about to find out more and discovered this Chinese Proverb

The taller the bamboo grows, the lower it bends.

This Zen parable

Be like a bamboo
A Zen Master was walking through the forest with one of his students down a narrow trail, along a steep incline. The student lost his footing and slipped, just as he began falling down the hill the student reached out and grabbed a small bamboo tree. The bamboo bent nearly all the way over as the student continued to hold on tightly. He pulled himself up and brushed himself off with the Zen Masters help.
“Did you notice that when you fell, you grabbed a hold of the bamboo and it bent nearly all the way over and still supported you.” The Zen Master asked.
“Yes,” the student replied. The Zen Master gripped the bamboo and pulled the bamboo over.
“Be like the bamboo,” The Zen Master said as he let go of the bamboo and it sprang back to its up-right position. “It is pushed around by the wind and yet it always bounces back and grows upward, toward the sun, enlightenment. Have you ever felt as though you were going to snap. Have you ever felt as though you were at your breaking point, emotionally?”
“Yes,” the student replied.
“Then bend, do not break, such is the way with bamboo. It endures the stress and finds a way to bounce back!” The Zen Master stated. “This is called resilience.”

And this explanation of Bamboo as a symbol:

Bamboo is a Chinese symbol for longevity because of its durability, strength, flexibility and resilience. It survives in the harshest conditions, and seems to endure through all the brutalities mother nature can dish out – still standing tall, and staying green year-round. Its flexibility and adaptability are a lesson to us all that the secret of a long happy life is to go with the flow. Feng Shui practitioners recommend putting bamboo plants in the front of your home to assure long life for all those who dwell there.

By using the contemplative practice of “noticing” and bringing more attention to this plant that is hidden in the garden I have been reminded that so much of what is around us in nature is also within us.

A day to reflect

It is ANZAC day here in New Zealand. A day when we remember the Australian and New Zealand troops who fought so heroically at Gallipoli. The day has been extended to remember all who have served in wars as Defence force members.

I know of 7 men in my family who served in WW1 and WW11. Fortunately all returned home but the cost was very high for some and the experience profound on them all.

I have spent some quiet time today reflecting on them and their bravery and courage.

My daughter and I spent some time this afternoon in our local wetlands, wildlife area at the head of the Pauatahanui Inlet. It was a peaceful place to reflect and remember all who served.

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